SOME say the high street is dying, but Beales dramatically bucked the trend with an evening sale that attracted big queues outside its Bournemouth and Poole stores.

The department store’s boss said sales outstripped the biggest day of Christmas trading as customers jostled to pick up massive bargains.

Described as Beales’ biggest ever shopping event, the Wednesday evening promotion saw Dyson vacuum cleaners sold for £100 and Michael Kors handbags at up to half price.

There was 70 per cent off garden furniture and barbecues, 70 per cent off pillows and 20 per cent off cosmetics.

The store gave away 1,000 glasses of Prosecco and sold 400 handbags, 300 gin glasses, 1,214 pillows, 1,000 lipsticks, 400 bottles of perfume and enough towels to cover the pitch at AFC Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium.

Beales chief executive Tony Brown said: “Bournemouth as a shopping destination is alive and kicking. You just have to get it right with the customer.

“The Dysons sold out in five minutes. We had 40 of them. The Michael Kors bags sold out in three.”

The three-hour event was advertised in the Daily Echo in print and online, promoted on social media and to 12,000 loyalty card holders.

Mr Brown said of the Bournemouth branch: “This store has had its best day in three years. We had 600 disposable champagne glasses in and we ran out. We got through 100 or so bottles of Prosecco. It was just huge.”

He said offering huge discounts could work as long as goods sold in big enough volumes.

“You have to get the volume and the timing right. The timing was perfect for us. The weather was perfect for us. The marketing teams did a fabulous job of promoting it and the store did a great job of executing it as well,” he added.

“It does buck the trend. You’ve just got to listen to your customers and know what your customers want. Purses are tight. Our job is to provide the customer with the product they want at a price they can afford.”

He added: “We’ll only do this twice a year. I don’t think we can do it any more than that. We’ll have another one in November but it’s not something you can do constantly.”

Outside the Bournemouth store on Wednesday, shopper Jane Maunder said she was buying a toy train for her grandson, and a dress and a suitcase for her holiday.

"I want loads, actually, I want everything," she said.

"I only found out about the sale 10 minutes before."

Mandy and Debbie Norris, of Cherries Cafe, said they were hoping to bag a bargain on plates.

"The queue is just massive. We knew about the sale all week and had to be there. We'll see what other bargains are around," they said.

"I saw the sale on Facebook. I'm here to buy a Dyson," another shopper said.